Nets dance around ABC’s ‘Millionaire’

Successful strip shifts sweeps

The roaring success of ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” is forcing other webs to make some last-minute sweeps month sked shifts.

NBC is making the most changes, pulling several underperforming skeins from its lineup for the next few weeks, in part to protect the shows from having to square off against the “Millionaire” juggernaut.

The network may also be trying to eliminate as many weak spots from its lineup as possible in order to avoid a possible sweeps loss to ABC, which five nights into the November ratings frame leads NBC among adults 18-49.

Fox is also making some tweaks, including the addition of one more seg of its new gamer “Greed.”

Among the sked shifts in the works:

  • NBC is pulling its Thursday laffer “Jesse” for the next two weeks, subbing repeats of “Friends” in the 8:30 p.m. slot. Peacock execs apparently decided “Jesse” would be crushed by “Millionaire” and didn’t want to waste two original segs of the struggling skein. NBC long ago announced plans to preempt “Jesse” on Thanksgiving night, Nov. 25.

  • Next Monday, Nov. 15, NBC will dump its 8-9 p.m. comedy block, putting the reality skein “World’s Most Amazing Videos” in direct competish with “Millionaire” in most time zones.

  • NBC will ditch its usual Saturday drama sked Nov. 20 in favor of repeating the 1995 Bond pic “Goldeneye.” The latest Bond feature, “The World Is Not Enough,” opens in theaters the day before. The following Saturday, Nov. 27, NBC will preempt “Profiler” at 10 p.m. for another seg of “Amazing Videos.”

  • On Nov. 24, Fox will replace its regular Wednesday sked with an additional seg of “Greed” at 8 p.m. and the new spec “Secrets of Street Magic Revealed” at 9 p.m. An hour of “Greed” will also lead into two new segs of “Action” on Dec. 2, the first night following November sweeps.